States have activated more National Guardsmen than any other time in U.S. history.
President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to deploy active-duty U.S. troops if states refuse to make use of their National Guard, a move that would dramatically escalate the federal response to the violent protests that have erupted around the country.
Trump, speaking at the White House as police nearby fired rubber bullets at protesters, said he “strongly recommended” every governor fully deploy the National Guard in response to the riots. If a city or state refuses, “I will deploy the U.S. military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said, citing his authority under the Insurrection Act of 1807.
“I am your president of law and order,” Trump said.
Trump also fully activated the D.C. National Guard, deploying 1,200 troops to the city’s streets to respond to the protests, according to a senior defense official. Trump has also requested additional forces from other states, and 600 to 800 Guardsmen from Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Utah are expected to arrive in the city tonight.
“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said.
In addition, the administration plans to set up a “central command center” that will include Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr, in conjunction with state and local officials, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said.
During the call, Esper can be heard urging officials to “dominate the battlespace.”
“The sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace the sooner this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” he said.
On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called on the president to deploy military units by invoking the Insurrection Act.
“If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division,” Cotton tweeted. Trump responded on Twitter, saying: “100% Correct. Thank you Tom!”
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